Different Brain Regions are Infected with Fungi in Alzheimer's Disease

Sci Rep. 2015 Oct 15;5:15015. doi: 10.1038/srep15015.


The possibility that Alzheimer's disease (AD) has a microbial aetiology has been proposed by several researchers. Here, we provide evidence that tissue from the central nervous system (CNS) of AD patients contain fungal cells and hyphae. Fungal material can be detected both intra- and extracellularly using specific antibodies against several fungi. Different brain regions including external frontal cortex, cerebellar hemisphere, entorhinal cortex/hippocampus and choroid plexus contain fungal material, which is absent in brain tissue from control individuals. Analysis of brain sections from ten additional AD patients reveals that all are infected with fungi. Fungal infection is also observed in blood vessels, which may explain the vascular pathology frequently detected in AD patients. Sequencing of fungal DNA extracted from frozen CNS samples identifies several fungal species. Collectively, our findings provide compelling evidence for the existence of fungal infection in the CNS from AD patients, but not in control individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / microbiology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Candida glabrata
  • Central Nervous System Fungal Infections / complications*
  • Central Nervous System Fungal Infections / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyphae
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male